The crazy and the cautious

Confucius said: “If you can’t find people who keep to the middle way to associate with, you will have to settle for the crazy or the cautious. The crazy dare to do anything to achieve their goals, but the cautious will never get their hands dirty.”

Unlike the modern-day sage Jack Ma, who has famously advocated hiring the craziest rather than the most qualified people, Confucius preferred balanced individuals who stuck to the middle way between, for example, the polarities of courage and fear.

Still, Confucius was enough of a pragmatist to realize that such people were in short supply, and even though he doesn’t say it explicitly here his tone suggests that – just like the founder of Alibaba – he leans more to the crazy than the cautious. After all, despite their lack of refinement, the crazy are willing to learn and try out new things, whereas the cautious are too set in their ways to move forward.

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